Oh yes, I went there!
But before I answer what the best BI tool is, I'd like to rant about this topic for a moment since many from the Chicago user group, LinkedIn, and Twitter have asked me. Hang with me through the following rumblings...
I've always wanted to drive a Ferrari, but I can't afford it and where would I find a mechanic since I live in Timbuktu? I'm too tall to drive a Mini Cooper. I have a 1973 Corvette in my garage which has 62K original miles on it, and I've only put 500 miles on it in 18 years. I let my neighbor take it to prom 5 years ago and he blew-up the motor (but that is another story). I sure would like to upgrade to a 2010 Z06 Corvette, but where would I put the kids? Trunk, maybe? Plus, I can play weekend mechanic with my 1973 verses having to take any of my other dream cars into the dealership to have it worked on since it would void my warranty.
Wait, who am I kidding? I'm a true Midwest redneck. I like a big truck, so I drive a 2007 Chevy Avalance. It's the perfect vehicle for ME and meets MY requirements:
- I can afford the payments and fuel charges
- It can tow my boat, put my motorcycle in the truck bed, and go 4-wheeling
- It seats 5 so I don't have to strap my kids to a luggage rack
- I can go to Home Depot and bring things home
- I know when the gas needle shows exactly empty
- I sit up high enough that I can look down at people on the highway
- My vehicle is just big enough so that jerk trying to merge into my lane is scared.
- My vehicle has the right amount of door dings so that same jerk trying to merge knows I'm not worried about bumping his car to keep my place...
- My warranty is good until 100,000 miles
- I'm a redneck (redundant) and proud of it. I have a Calvin & Hobbes sticker in my window and you know what he is doing...
What was I talking about? Oh yeah (focus, Dennis).
My requirements + my constraints were equal to or less than my budget.
The best BI tool is really based upon more than reports. It's the complete package of formulated requirements. I am the MacGyver of data. I can deliver an analytical cube with data that resides in Excel, SQLServer, DB2, Oracle, and 3 colors of Post-It's on multiple desks on 3 floors with a match, an empty Starbucks cup, and a paper clip. But most people probably are just looking for the following capabilities:
- Operational reporting
- Analytical reporting
- MDM capabilities
- The sharpness of my data consumers
- The brilliance of my data architects
- The audacity of my DBA's.
- The staunchness of my Data Governance Council and stewards
- The celebrity of my dashboard capabilities
- The pocketbooks of my project sponsor
- The outstanding interoperable relationships of all the above technologies and synergies within my organization
I have many more, but I'm making a point here.
So the absolute best BI tool that I just can't be without it is....